What Collectors Need to Know about Prior Express ConsentAssociation of Business Training
January 6, 2014 — 886 views
These days many people have to face a debt collector. Defaulting on debts has become a common practice and is affecting more and more people. However, there are several best practices and guidelines that debt collectors need to keep in mind before they go out for their debt collection work.
Prior Express Consent
Prior express consent is a legal principle which means that debt collectors cannot contact the debtors unless they have received prior express consent. Here each word has a specific meaning. ‘Prior’ means that the consent should be given in advance. Express means that the consent should be given formally in writing and should be signed. Consent means that the debtor has provided permission to the debt collector to contact him.
Prior express consent is an important principle because it protects the rights of the debtors and protects them from harassment. Debtors are no different from any other consumers and therefore their rights are just as important to protect as that of the general consumer is.
There are two main laws that govern this area. The first one is the FDCPA, or the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. It specifies which debt collection practices are fair and which are not fair. Calling a debtor on his phone when he has not provided prior express consent is an unfair practice and should be avoided. There are several other provisions that provide protection to the debtor under this act.
The other is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. It specifies the proper ways in which a telephone consumer may be contacted. Its main purpose is to ensure that telephone consumers are not harassed by repeated calls from other parties. The punishment for harassment or threatening calls under this act is severe.
Other Best Practices
In addition to the above mentioned laws, there are several other best practices that debt collectors must follow when they are contacting the debtors. The debt collectors should always contact the debtors in private. They should not conduct any meetings in private because that could reveal sensitive information and would also violate the privacy of the debtor.
If a debtor is not available or cannot be contacted, the debt collectors should not raise the matter with the family of the debt collector. This is because the debt is a matter of interest only for the debtor and should not involve his family.
The rise of debt collection agencies is a trend that has not gone unnoticed. Several laws have been made to regulate their activities. It has been understood that they need to act under the framework of the law and that they cannot overreach their powers. All this was considered necessary because there have been many instances of harassment of debtors and their family. To prevent this, several guidelines have been issued which the debt collectors need to follow. If they do not follow the guidelines, they can be punished by law. This will hopefully ensure good faith behavior from the debt collectors.